This was a Quentin Tarantino presented film, i.e., with his seal of approval. The director/actor was RZA, credited mostly for his song writings. Since he wrote, and directed this film, naturally he played the main actor, “Blacksmith“, or aka the man with the iron fists. The title was pretty clear that he would have two iron fists at the end, but to what end, and how he got them, and why?
We know Tarantino loves B-movies about Kung Fu, sword-fights, warriors and assassins, and The Man with the Iron Fists was exactly that.
In a village that is controlled by two clans: Lions and Wolves, they are in constant territorial fights. There are infighting for power in the Lions clan: Silver Lion(Byron Mann) kills Gold Lion(Kuan Tai Chen). Gold Lion’s son, Zen Yi (Rick Yune), is on his way to reclaim the throne. Silver Lion is a ambitious and greedy dictator, first he wants to eliminate the Wolves clan, and then robs the regional government of their gold. And Blacksmith welds the weapons that put the Wolves clan into extinction, which he regrets.
In the midst of all the power struggle, a cowboy Jack Knife(Russell Crowe) shows up at the fabulous and exquisite whorehouse run by Madam Blossom(Lucy Liu), an old flame of Jack. It seems Jack is there to enjoy life to its fullness, or is he?
So why I liked this film? It’s funny, and hilarious with its fighting scenes, laughable with its cartoonish brutality where hands and heads were chopped off, and blood squirting everywhere, but nonetheless its fast kung fu actions were well choreographed: sword-fights, secret weapons, midair kicks, gliding down from balcony…The play between Crowe and Liu was coquettish, which added to the fun. Brass Body (Dave Bautista – WWE Champion and Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy (2015)) is the Lions’s secret weapon, his body could turn into brass to avoid injuries…the CGI was interesting and quite good, in fact. Lastly, the coordinated fight scene between the Gemini female (Grace Huang) and Gemini male (Andrew Lin), government inspectors, and the Lions clan was entertaining. One more thing, the back story of Blacksmith was LOL, yet it made sense (classic setting in a B King-Fu movie). Such irony!
WATCH…you have to like this genre of movies to appreciate it.